Why Mobile Should Be At The Heart Of Latino Consumer Marketing

The growing affluence, size, and influence of the Latino market has been a well-forecasted and well-known movement in the United States. Brands can no longer afford to forgo translation projects. Translation and reaching the Latino demographic are quickly becoming requirements for brands that need to remain relevant and competitive with a huge and growing population. Yet many brands and marketers continue to ignore the Latino demographic -- especially within apps and mobile offerings -- increasingly at their own peril.

According to Nielsen Mobile Hispanic Insights, 61 percent of Latinos own a smartphone, compared to just 42 percent of non-Latinos. Furthermore, Latinos over-index for consumption on their smartphones -- especially for app downloads, music and video content. Mobile represents a unique opportunity to reach active and engaged Latino consumers. A recent study sponsored by BiTE interactive found that Latino consumers were far more likely to engage and remain loyal to a brand that chose to translate and localize its mobile content for Spanish speakers. 

So why don’t most major brands choose to translate their apps? 

Simply put: translation was a slow, painful, labor-intensive, costly process loaded with risk. Mistakes at the very least tarnish the brand or confuse the consumer, and at the most, leave a company outside of legal compliance. 

That’s the bad news that we all know about. The good news is that mobile has made it much easier for brands to accomplish translation.

Smartphones were built for the global community. By the time the iPhone launched, the market for smartphones was already international. As Android phones and tablets of all breeds followed, support for multiple native languages was a necessity for device success. Both iOS and Android platforms provide robust tools for developers and users to easily switch between languages -- not as an afterthought, but as a first-tier feature fully supported by the platforms.

So what must be done to take full advantage of translation on mobile? It may sound simple, but brands should always look to take full advantage of their mobile platform(s) of choice. Mobile is always evolving. To ensure the best apps and the most robust localized features, brands should build apps that not only take full advantage of the platforms’ current features, but are versatile enough to ensure continued access to advanced platform innovations as they are released. 

Plan for Translation

When translation is a requirement from inception, the app is built differently. Copy length and flexible layouts are a planned design point, not an afterthought. Seemingly small wins like not baking text into images end up not only benefitting those who speak a different language, but also the visually impaired customers who rely on mobile’s impressive array of accessibility tools.

Make a fresh start

Mobile is a clean slate. Starting from scratch frees brands from the encumbrance of legacy content and legacy systems, allowing brands to use all the lessons from the past with the most impressive tools available to engage and retain consumers.

The days of monolithic, single-language, single-message marketing are gone. Those who cling to “business as usual” will flounder as the U.S. market shifts under their feet. The way forward is to reach customers by creating engaging, nuanced apps that communicate brand messaging to the user in their native tongue. For Latinos in the U.S. market, there’s no better start than to literally speak their language.

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